How to give constructive criticism
This is Sarah Clare’s guest post.
Managers will have to deal with poor performance and substandard work at some point. Everyone makes mistakes. We can all learn from them and improve our work. As a project manager, you have the responsibility to help your team learn from their mistakes and find ways to improve their work.
It can be difficult to deliver constructive criticism. It is possible that you don’t know how to differentiate constructive criticism from just plain criticism. You might also not know how best to communicate it so that your team doesn’t receive it negatively. It is important to learn how to criticize to encourage positive change.
Here are some tips to help you provide constructive criticism to your team.
It should be delivered in person
E-mail is a great way to communicate with busy professionals but it is not always the best way for sensitive information to be communicated. E-mail has no tone. What you intended to communicate with empathy and understanding can be misinterpreted or even misinterpreted. These conversations should be held in person. Your tone and body language can soften the message and encourage a sense of teamwork to achieve a common goal.
Focus on small, specific, and actionable changes
Criticism can easily turn into a personal attack, a rambling rant, or a personal attack that covers everything you dislike about the employee. It is important to think carefully about what you are going to say to the employee before you approach them. Also, it is important to set a goal for improvement. Instead of giving vague feedback and asking for improvement, you can focus on small, achievable changes that the employee can make.
You can focus on just one or two actions at once to avoid overwhelming the employee. Once these are done, you can return to the conversation to discuss progress and make suggestions for improvement.
Be generous with praise
It is difficult to hear criticism, no matter how well you deliver. It can be made easier by being generous with your praise. Do not wait to praise someone if you have something to complain about. When you see your team members doing something amazing or delivering great work, make it a habit of praising them. You can compliment your team members by highlighting recent achievements or aspects of the project that were handled well, even if you have to give constructive criticism.
Encourage problem solving
Engage the employee to find a solution together to the problem. This will encourage learning and improve the company. It is possible for the employee to tell you what you want to see change but it may not always work. While you may be able to train the employee to do the things you ask, it may not always work. The employee may not be able to understand why the change is important or valuable.
Email criticism is not the best way to communicate. Instead, encourage problem solving. Instead of offering a solution, have a conversation with the employee about the problem. Ask for feedback on how to improve the situation. This will encourage learning and long-term improvement.
Create a model
You won’t be able to inspire change if you tell an employee that they are tardy and then don’t arrive at work until 10am every morning. It is important to be a positive role model for the behavior you want.
You can be a role model for your employees by offering mentorship opportunities, support and ongoing training.
It is never easy to receive criticism and even more difficult to offer constructive criticism. De